A Strand February 2021 Book of the Month
"With a layered mystery, a haunting setting, and thrilling tension, What Big Teeth has an otherness to it that pulls you in and forces you to keep reading." —Tricia Levenseller, Publisher’s Weekly-bestselling author of The Shadows Between Us
Eleanor Zarrin has been estranged from her wild family for years. When she flees boarding school after a horrifying incident, she goes to the only place she thinks is safe: the home she left behind. But when she gets there, she struggles to fit in with her monstrous relatives, who prowl the woods around the family estate and read fortunes in the guts of birds.
Eleanor finds herself desperately trying to hold the family together—in order to save them all, Eleanor must learn to embrace her family of monsters and tame the darkness inside her.
Rose Szabo's thrilling debut is a dark fantasy novel about a teen girl who returns home to her strange, wild family after years of estrangement, perfect for fans of Wilder Girls. Exquisitely terrifying, beautiful, and strange, this fierce gothic fantasy will sink its teeth into you and never let go.
Comparable to The Hazel Wood, Szabo's uneven debut features a pitch-black fairy tale atmosphere and rich, mid-century gothic descriptions. Returning home to Maine after a violent incident at her boarding school, Eleanor Zarrin reunites with a family unlike any other. With a mother who is half woman, half marine life; several werewolf-shapeshifting relatives; and Grandmother Persephone, who can see the future, Eleanor is not sure how she fits in or why she was sent away for eight years. When her grandmother dies, first instructing Eleanor to care for and protect the family, the girl uncovers long-buried secrets and calls on her maternal French grandmother for help. But Grand-\nmere's incredible powers threaten them all, and Eleanor must decide whether to defend the family who abandoned her or become the creature her Grandmere insists she is inside. Fragmented worldbuilding leads to labored plotting, yet Szabo introduces an intriguing cast of characters particularly Arthur, a vampirish family guest and paramour to many alongside meaningful explorations of identity and belonging. Ages 14 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This was wild
I finished What Big Teeth, and I’ve gone back and forth in my head several times trying to decide how I felt about it.
This book isn’t necessarily a bad book, but there is very little explaining and you’re just thrown into the story. This was one of the most wild and twisted books I have ever read, and my stomach is still in knots because I don’t know that i liked it, but I couldn’t stop reading.
Our main character Eleanor is different from the rest of her family of werewolves. I still don’t understand what’s going on with her mother. I still don’t understand why she’s mad at everything and constantly being scolded for being “rude” in the beginning even though she wasn’t. And the side plot with the plants that never comes to anything. I’m still so confused by so much of this book. The reveals at the end were completely obvious by the time we got there, and I wasn’t shocked. I wouldn’t call this a horror novel, but I do read a lot of horror and this was maybe like a goosebumps type horror, it would’ve been scarier when I was younger.
It’s very rare that I have a hard time putting into words my opinion on a book. This wasn’t good, but I couldn’t put it down, and I don’t know what I feel about it.